Diversity – Inclusion – Innovation

Three success factors for leaders of future business

We have been assisting a corporation running worldwide PR for a US brand. The activities in 25 countries across the EMEA region have been organised by a hub situated in the UK. Do you think it was easy for the UK hub to get the 25 agencies to cooperate? Can you understand which challenges a Turkish company would have had with a press release from the US? Or how little their female colleagues in Dubai could understand how their Finnish male colleagues approached the market? Where would you have started if you were in charge and were supposed to improve the operations of this company?

Does this scenario intimidate you as a leader? Get used to it – or better – get prepared for it! Your leadership skills are being challenged more than ever – and you need to show that you can proactively get on top of the situation.

Diversity

It all starts with an understanding of diversity, the ability to accept that there are differences and that business needs to be performed differently in different regions. Next – you, as leader, have to understand the people that run the operations and get to know them. It takes time and effort, but without knowing your team members you will never know how to communicate with them, or how to get the best out of them. Success factor one: Understand diversity

Inclusion

The best leaders have excellent communication skills – and we are not only referring to language here but the ability to adjust the communication to the receiver. They must know what to look for and the most appropriate communication method to use for every individual – and be flexible enough to adjust to the situation. You cannot deliver the message without having the receiver in mind. Our experience is that the better you get at communication – the better your teams will perform.

Not only do you, as leader, need to communicate with your teams, they also need to communicate with each other. The best way to create an environment for sharing and best practice is to bring people together. If not physically – at least in virtual meetings. Give feedback and let them shine. Success factor two: Make great teams from different people

Innovation

So you are managing a variety of people with different backgrounds, skills, experience, ages, and genders. If you look at the total pool of resources that can be utilised you, as leader, must facilitate and encourage people to become involved in each other’s challenges and to share knowledge. It is important that each individual feels that they can bring both problems and ideas to a common forum without being afraid of the reaction.

The best leaders are the ones that know their own strengths and limitations – and who are not afraid of exposing them to others. Some of the best leaders we have met have an unspoken policy to step back and let their co-workers get the acknowledgment, but when things get tough they step up and take the front position. Success factor three: Utilise diversity to create innovation

We understand that growing diversity is one of the most important trends in the coming years – here are more trends of which you should be aware. Not only is international cooperation growing, but the workforce is also changing and bringing new groups of people with new characteristics into business. The Millennials are starting to enter the job scene, and they will potentially have a totally different mindset than those you are used to dealing with. Check out Mind the Gaps if you don’t believe us …

So we ask you again – are you prepared for this as a leader?

Per Kristian Johnsen, Change Management Consultant – www.futureleaders.one